People say that time flies. I can still feel myself rolling my eyes as a teenager listening to the older and wiser crowd as they reminisced about “when they were young,” and told me to “make the most of this time.” Growing up, time seemed to drag by. It took forever to finally celebrate my birthday every year. I thought I would never make it to double digits, teenage digits, or driving digits! Time seemed to crawl—not fly, until I became a Mother.
Now, time seems to be in overdrive. I can’t seem to take pictures fast enough to capture all the moments that happen so extraordinarily every ordinary day. After ten years of parenthood, this year we finally enrolled all three kids in school, and that definitely kicked everything up a notch. We spent almost every night studying a wide range of academics including: letters, sight words, addition facts, multiplication facts, American History, and physical properties of matter. We signed permission slips, admission forms, lunch account checks, reading logs, and planners. We created a gingerbread man, a locker valentine box, and a science fair project. We went to Tball, baseball, and softball games. Our days were full from sunrise to sunset, and it was during those twilight hours that we were able to stop for just a minute, breathe, and slow down time.
I call this Phase Two of this parenthood gig. Phase One was the baby/toddler/pre-school phase. I remember that phase clearly, and can genuinely feel the exhaustion again when I see a new mother tackling Wal-Mart with an infant carrier and a sippy cup. I can remember the complicated and overwhelming process of simply loading the car to get to Wal-Mart—packing the diaper bag, getting the snacks, finding and tying the shoes, and finally buckling all those seat belts only to have someone have a most necessary diaper change to reboot the entire process. I can go back in time to Phase One in no time at all—because it feels like it wasn’t that long ago.
Now that we’re in the trenches of Phase Two, I can see where Phase Three will take us—the teenager, high school and graduation days. I’m watching Veteran Moms attend Senior dinners and breakfasts, awards ceremonies, sports banquets, and other Graduation Hoopla. I see their children making plans for College and Independence, and it makes me realize that Phase Three will be here before I can catch my breath. As Phase Two beginners this year, we have our third Kindergarten Graduate. He’s mastered sight words and letter sounds, and we’re working everyday on the self-control. I see the road ahead of him, and know he will one day be a high school graduate and have mastered chemistry and Shakespeare—that’s the plan anyway. I look at the path his older siblings have paved, and wonder how he will tackle changing classes, standardized testing, 4H projects, and more…self-control. On the opposite end of our spectrum, next year we will watch our oldest enter Middle School and learn the challenges of lockers, lunchrooms, and lazy lollygagging. I know we will cringe watching her make mistakes and stumble through awkward life lessons, and because of that, I almost want the next couple years to move fast for her. Almost.
I suppose now that I am part of that older and wiser crowd, I should impart the same wisdom onto my kids and tell them to “make the most of these years.” The thing is, I know time is creeping by for them; I know they are looking to their future birthdays as the source of their Lifetime Achievements, whereas I look to those same birthdays as evidence of time flying. As I hear the familiar Graduation Soundtrack of Pomp and Circumstance in the background this month, I look at where we’ve been, and where we’re going, and because I’m a Mother, I can’t help but will time to just stand still—just long enough for me to seize those everyday ordinary moments, to cherish the extraordinary memories.